faculty photo  Arlene Fradkin

Arlene Fradkin, Ph.D.

Office: SO 178, Phone: 561-297-3231, E-Mail: afradkin@fau.edu

Ph.D., University of Florida, 1988

Areas of Research:

Archaeology, Zooarchaeology, Native American Studies, Folk Zoology, Museum Studies, Southeast United States, Florida, Central and South America, Middle East

My major area of expertise is zooarchaeology, the study of animal bone and shell remains recovered from archaeological sites.  As a branch of environmental archaeology, this discipline is directed toward understanding the dynamic relationship between past human populations and the natural and social environment in which they lived.  By studying archaeological animal assemblages, I reconstruct the diets of people who lived in the past, investigate their methods of hunting and fishing, determine in which seasons they carried out these activities, and examine whether they raised domesticated animals.  Furthermore, I can also gain insight into socioeconomic and ethnic distinctions within past societies as well as the role animals played in religious beliefs and practices.  Finally, animal bone assemblages often provide excellent data for reconstructing past environmental and climatic conditions.

As a zooarchaeology specialist, I am part of interdisciplinary research teams at a number of significant archaeological sites both in the United States and abroad.  My projects focus primarily in the Southeast United States, especially Florida, where I conduct research on both pre-Columbian Native American as well as colonial and early American archaeological sites.  I have also studied archaeological animal assemblages collected from pre-Columbian sites in Central and South America and from Roman and Byzantine sites in the Middle East.

My scholarly work also extends beyond the discipline and the university classroom to the general public through the development of museum exhibitions and educational programs.  I have curated a number of traveling museum exhibitions on early Native American cultures and American natural history.  Through such museum exhibitions, I have been instrumental in disseminating anthropological, archaeological, and historical knowledge to the general public.